Why Was Masimov Arrested?

The dismissal of the NSC Chief Karim Masimov and his subsequent arrest by the secret service officials on the charge of high treason is one of the biggest mysteries of the January events in Kazakhstan. Here is what KZ.expert insiders say about this.

But first, let us quote the official statement of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan published on the agency’s website under the title “Urgent Information”.   

“On January 6 of the current year, the National Security Committee began the pre-trial investigation of the incident of high treason according to Part 1 of Article 175 of the Kazakh Criminal Code.

On that day, former Chief of the NSC Masimov K.K. and other persons were arrested and put in the pre-trial detention centre on suspicion of committing the aforementioned crime.

For legal purposes, any additional information is not subject to disclosure”.

On the night of January 6, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a decree on appointing Ermek Sagimbayev the new NSC Chief. Previously, Sagimbayev had occupied the post of the Kazakh National Guard chairman.

In Kazakhstan and beyond its borders, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s decision to dismiss the NSC leader who, in the past, had chaired the RK government twice and was thought to be one of the most influential figures in the ruling elite not to mention Nursultan Nazarbayev’s confidant was regarded as solidifying the position of the Elbasy’s successor.  

As for the arrest of Karim Masimov on the charge of high treason, it became a serious argument in favour of the version (promoted by Tokayev and supported by the official propaganda) that an external force had meddled in the country’s internal matters.

Meanwhile, according to our insiders in the highest echelons of power, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was personally involved in the making of the decision on Karim Masimov’s dismissal and his subsequent arrest. And Nazarbayev’s successor has simply carried out these orders.

We do not know exactly why Nursultan Nazarbayev got so angry with the man who, up until recently, had been his ally. However, we may assume that it was a result of the emotional shock overlapping with a sober assessment of the latest events and the threats they pose to the Library’s main resident.

As for the emotional shock, we cannot say exactly how serious it was and if it had caused any health-related problems - the cordon around the Library and Nursultan Nazarbayev has become absolutely impenetrable since the start of the protests. However, we have no doubt that the Elbasy was shocked to the very core: the world he had built around himself and for himself was destroyed literally in a single moment.

After this happened, he probably realised that, albeit he would get his place in history, he won’t be able to keep the laurels. Moreover, there is no guarantee that, after his death, the angry fellow citizens will not dig up his remains and burn them.

Presented with this kind of situation, people like Nursultan Nazarbayev always look for a guilty party so that they can dump on them their anger, frustration and fear.

The list of the Elbasy’ allies deserving of such fate is extremely limited: the President, the Prime Minister, the Chief of the NSC, the Minister of Interior.

It looks like Karim Masimov was singled out from this narrow circle due to the fact that Askar Mamin had already been dismissed (not to mention he was not in charge of the siloviks) while Erlan Turgumbayev was needed to restore the order in the country since it is the police that constitutes the basis of the law-enforcement vertical. As for Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, dismissing him would not only be very difficult but also dangerous.

According to our insiders, it was the mistakes made by Karim Masimov who, normally very cautious, this time seemed to have failed to realise the gravity of the moment that had played an important part in choosing him as the main scapegoat.

Instead of taking initiative and assuming responsibility, he had practically disengaged himself from managing the agency. Moreover, he had recommended some of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s relatives (they name Timur and Dinara Kulibayevs) to leave the country immediately which they did thus spreading panic among the officials and the siloviks.

As for the sober assessment of the situation by Nursultan Nazarbayev, it looks like he simply was out of choices. For, if the explosion of the protest sentiments in the country was a consequence to his erroneous social, economic and domestic policy, then it is he who is to be blamed for the situation.

Not only that, any attempt to shift the blame to his subordinates (the Elbasy’s usual practice successfully employed in the past), in this case, would be futile. The Elbasy has trained the citizens to think that he is the one who has built the Kazakh state and brought it to success; therefore, he should be the one responsible for what happens to it.

Under these circumstances, only “external interference” and “high treason” could rescue the First President of Kazakhstan.

And they did pop up, as if from nowhere.

It looks like these options will be presented as the main reason for why successful, stable and prosperous Kazakhstan has suddenly became a battlefield in the war between the state and the citizens.

It looks like it was only when Nazarbayev’s emotional shock overlapped with his sober assessment of the situation that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev found 20 thousand either terrorists or foreign fighters in Kazakhstan. And the NSC officials arrested and put in jail their former chief.

To give this version a more solid ground, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested support from the SCTO. And he got it. Although, in this instance, we do allow for the possibility that Akorda really needed it since Almaty did not have enough siloviks to handle the situation…

 In our next material, we will share our ideas on how the criminal case against Karim Masimov and the six other unnamed individuals is going to be investigated, what other charges can be brought against him, how and through whom he will be pressured and what the investigators are going to hope to achieve.


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